Jockey Blake Shinn is looking forward to a strong performance from the top weight Happy Clapper in the Group 1 $1m Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
The Pat Webster trained Happy Clapper has drawn barrier four in the final fourteen horse Epsom Handicap field and Shinn said that the seven year old will be hard to beat if he can reproduce his last start second to super mare Winx in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White Stakes (George Main Stakes) (1600m) at Randwick on September 16.
“He gave Winx a real test. I think that was a career best performance on his behalf and I think with even luck he should go very close to winning,” Shinn said.
“He has tactical speed and is going to get every chance. You’ve got Red Excitement drawn 3 and a few horses out wide like Comin’ Through and Embley so there is going to be a lot of pressure. I’ve just got to get him into a nice comfortable rhythm.”
Happy Clapper has been elevated to carry the top weight of 57kg after the original top weights Black Heart Bart, Humidor and Le Romain with 58kg and Vega Magic with 57kg all failed to accept for the Randwick Spring feature Mile resulting in the weights being raised 0.5kg.
“I think that is a winnable weight for him in comparison to the horses down in the weights,” Shinn said.
“Compared to what he gave Foxplay last start I think he is in well at the weights and should prove very hard to beat.”
Happy Clapper has shown in the past his liking for the Randwick Mile with one win and three seconds over the Epsom Handicap course and distance.
“He ran second in the Doncaster last preparation. He has good form and stats at the Randwick Mile so I think it is a good recipe for him hopefully to get the right result here,” Shinn said.
Shinn is hoping for a winning result with Happy Clapper in the Epsom Handicap as he is looking to lose the ride on the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained English in the $10m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 14.
Shinn has appealed a careless riding suspension that he incurred from last Saturday’s Golden Rose Race Day after Racing New South Wales stewards found him guilty of causing interference near the 1000m when his mount Pariah moved in when not clear of Chauffeur which in turn moved in onto Shogun Sun who had to be checked and also made contact with the running rail.
If Shinn’s appeal is dismissed, his suspension will commence on Monday October 2 and will see him back in the saddle on October 20, which will see him free to ride at Saturday’s Epsom-Metropolitan meeting at Randwick.
Happy Clapper remained the favourite for the Epsom Handicap after today’s barrier draw and is marked at $3 at Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of the Chris Waller trained Egg Tart at $5.50.